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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: Tarte Tartelette Faves Best-Seller Discovery Kit from Ulta

 Tarte Tartelette Faves Best-Seller Discovery Kit
(retail: $22, $76 value)

So I actually purchased this value set on the Ulta site back at the end of May when it first went live and I blogged about it, but it took me a while to try everything and form a solid opinion as to whether I think it's worth $22. Thank goodness this set is still in stock on the Ulta site here if you want it (I was so scared it would be sold out before I got this post up). So let's not waste any time!

When you open the box, the five items are wrapped in purple Tarte tissue paper. 

Here's what you get (from the Ulta website):
  • Deluxe Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara (0.16 oz)
  • Deluxe Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in TBT (mauve) (0.1 oz)
  • The Sculptor Double-Ended Contour & Highlighter (0.06 oz)
  • Deluxe Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Sweet (golden pink) (0.05 oz)
  • Deluxe Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Setting Powder (0.07 oz)

The Sculptor Double-Ended Contour & Highlighter (0.06 oz)

In my two pics above, I fully extended the sticks so you can see how much product you get. Not much. But thankfully, I'm not too concerned with that because I actually don't care for this product.

I already had this product from another value set, and I didn't like it then, either. To me, the texture is more like grease paint, and it doesn't work at all with my oily skin. The moment I blend, the colors seem to disappear. So then I have to go back and add more, and it just looks and feels very greasy on my skin. Neither shade ever really sinks it--they just sit on top the skin. Like grease paint. 

Deluxe Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Sweet (golden pink) (0.05 oz)

Now this product, I LOVE. This blush does not contain chunky glitter--the gold shimmer is fine, and it leaves a gorgeous golden sheen on the skin.

The above swatch was taken after I swirled my finger in the pan once, and then blended the blush lightly onto my skin. I could have built for more intensity, but I wanted to give you a more realistic look at this blush, so you can better imagine it on your cheeks. In person it is truly gorgeous, and you can easily get a lot more pigment than what you see here. The pink base gives my NC20 skintone a beautiful flush of color, while the golden sheen looks stunning when the light hits my cheeks. The overall feel is very NARS Orgasm-esque. Love love love this blush. I also want to mention that I have a few of these deluxe mini blushes from Tarte, and they surprisingly last quite a long time. I think I have four or five of them at this point and have yet to hit pan on any of them.

UPDATE: thanks so much to reader Peteena Poodle for the tip that if you want JUST this blush without having to buy this set, you can get the Tarte How Sweet It Is Duo for $10 on the Sephora sale page HERE. Hopefully anyone who wants it can get it before that duo sells out!

Deluxe Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Setting Powder (0.07 oz)

I was excited to try this setting powder since it has received some favorable reviews on Makeup Alley and it has nearly a 4-1/2 star average rating on the Sephora website. I'm not a huge loose powder person (I prefer pressed; less messy) but if it's a fantastic product, I'll deal with some mess.

Well I now understand why people say that your skin feels so soft after using this powder. I absolutely agree--there's something about the formula that makes my skin so soft to the touch when I'm wearing this. I also think it does a nice job at setting my makeup while remaining virtually invisible. This powder isn't big on oil-control for my super oily t-zone, but I really wasn't expecting it to be, since I generally need a heavy-duty pressed powder for that. But really, outside of my oil-slick T-zone, this powder keeps my makeup looking great for 6-8 hours, no problem, and I like how it sets my under-eye concealer as well. It does not get cakey for me at all. 

What I do not like about this powder: it can leave a white cast on the skin if you're not careful. I have to tap off my brush like crazy before I apply this powder to ensure that I'm applying the thinnest layer possible. If I need to go back in and apply more, I find that I have to buff like crazy to get the white cast to go away. This may not be a problem if you have very fair skin, but if your skin is NC20 or deeper, you've been warned. Less is more with this stuff. I also didn't like that this cap only has two tiny holes in it. So you have to shake like crazy to get a decent amount into the lid. I have heard that people have tried to poke additional holes in the shaker but that it's difficult to do. I guess I could pry the entire lid off, but that seems like it would be a giant mess, so I guess I'll just deal with the two holes for now. 

Deluxe Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara (0.16 oz)

This mascara totally surprised me. You all know that I don't care for Tarte's Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara (it really does nothing for my thin, short, straight, sparse lashes). But THIS one is a whole other story! I feel like I never hear anyone talk about Gifted, but it does seem to get generally favorable reviews on the web so I know I'm not alone. 

For me, this mascara provides wonderful lift, definition, and length to my lashes, with decent volume as well (it's not HUGE on volume, but I think it's excellent for everything else, so that's why I still love it despite the fact that I need volume). What I really love about this mascara is the combination of the consistency and the brush. It's a wetter mascara (not SUPER wet, but certainly not dry) and the nylon bristle brush, combined with the wetter formula, makes it so easy to apply. I love the act of applying this mascara, because the brush just runs through my lashes so effortlessly, and it deposits the right amount of product every time. If I can get a good deal on a full-size tube I will absolutely purchase. 

Deluxe Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in TBT (mauve) (0.1 oz)

I know that the reviews on the Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paints are mixed. And I can understand that if you're going into it expecting these to set to a super matte, transfer-proof, long-wear type of finish, you will be disappointed. For me, this lip color is not SUPER matte (it doesn't look shiny on the lips, but it's not the mattest of the mattes) and it's definitely not a transfer-proof, long-wear formula. This lip color really doesn't set at all for me, and it transfers as much as a regular creme lipstick (not a liquid). But you know what? For what it is, I actually like it!

I think the color is very universal, flattering and easy to wear. This shade, TBT, is extremely pigmented and it applies evenly to the lips. I enjoy the minty flavor and fragrance, and I love how this product feels on the lips. It's comfortable to wear, and it isn't drying at all to me. So when I wear it, I just go into it with the mindset that this is like any standard creme lipstick in my stash. It's not going to wear for hours and hours (2 or 3 hours tops for me) and it's going to transfer like a standard lipstick.

FINAL VERDICT: the function of any discover kit is to discover (duh). And when you discover things, it doesn't always mean that everything is going to be a hit--that's the chance you take with discovery kits! So if you haven't tried any (or most) of these products before, I think this a great little kit that offers a nice range of products from Tarte's line for you to try. None of these products are super tiny in size, so every one of them should last you a good long while and certainly long enough to determine if you want to make a full-size purchase. I don't regret my purchase at all because, for me, four of the five products in this set were good, if not great, with just one stinker in the mix. I really, REALLY love that mascara and blush. For $22, that breaks down to $4.40 per product, which I think was well worth it for me personally.

As of the time of this post, this set is still in stock on the Ulta website here, in case you're interested in trying it out.

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.


  1. Thanks for the review G! May you share what pressed powder you use to control your oil? I bought the black radiance primer because of you and absolutely love it!

    1. Sure! My favorite is the Neutrogena Shine Control (Invisible) pressed powder. Link is below. This stuff truly keeps my breakthrough shine at a mininum througout the day, and I don't think it gets enough credit or raves!

      And I am SO thrilled to hear that the Black Radiance primer is working well for you! You made my day! Pairing that primer with this powder is awesome for us oily peeps, I swear. ;)

    2. Hmmm, I'll have to try both. It's so difficult to control the oil in this humid weather...which is why I love winter. It helps to dry the skin a bit!!!

    3. Oddly, I am convinced that the Neutrogena Shine Control invisible pressed powder is giving a white cast to my skin. (This is something I am only recently noticing after years of using it, mind you.) But, it does control oil very well.

      Anyway, the Tarte blush looks beautiful. I don't have that one so I will have to be on the lookout for it.

  2. Excellent review as always G! Thank you so much for posting this! I was excited about this kit when you first mentioned it and then lost interest but now that you've explained all the details and pros and cons I want to buy this. I also own a lot of the deluxe size Tarte blushes and love them so I know I would love the blush too add the lip product and the mascara and it makes it a great value.

    1. Oh Lily, thank you so much for that! You have no idea how much it means to me that this review could help you. I really hope you love the blush, mascara, and lip color as much as I do. Please keep me posted? xo

  3. I used the tarte powder as well and I did not like the white cast it gave my skin. I am very fair skinned like between 42 and 44 with KVD and it looked awful on me ��

    1. I'm sorry to hear that! I was able to control it by tapping my brush more times than I usually do. Also extra buffing helped. :)

  4. I really like TBT. I got Namaste from a different set and it doesn't last very long at all on me, but I can make it through the day with only one touch up with TBT.

  5. That blush is beautiful! If I didn't have enough blush to last me through nuclear fallout, I would get it! Haha! It almost reminds me of TheBalm's Hot Mama, just a little different in tone.

    1. Yes! Hot Mama has more of a bronzey tone and I think the Tarte is closer in tone to NARS Orgasm, but I totally see what you mean! :)

  6. Do you know if they sell this blush full size? It is so pretty but I can't seem to find it anywhere.

    1. I'm pretty sure that they do. If not, it comes with a lipsurgence stick in a $10.00 kit on the Sephora sale page. G is right, it really is beautiful!

    2. You know, I wasn't even aware that this wasn't available in a full-size option! Well that bums me out because I would seriously consider buying a full-size (if I could get it on sale, of course)! I did some digging online and noticed a review of this blush from 2015 (the review was for this same size deluxe mini), so I'm GUESSING that like some of Tarte's other deluxe mini blushes, this shade makes appearances in various different LE holiday sets and value sets. Hopefully they continue to bring it back in various forms later down the road.

      Oh, I also found the deluxe mini for sale individually on Amazon for $11.99 if you want to go that route (but really, I would probably just pay the extra $10 and grab this entire set, unless of course nothing else in the set appeals to you!

      I hope that helps a little!

    3. Peteena, I somehow didn't see/approve your comment before I responded. You are an ANGEL!!! I just saw that the Sephora set with this blush is still in stock and I cannot believe it's only $10! Yes!!!! Victoria, here's the link if you need it:

      Thanks again for that tip, Peteena!!!! xo

  7. I bought this kit too, mainly for the blush because this shade is not available in a full size and it is beautiful. This is a great kit. the Gifted Mascara is one of my favorites, but since the Tarteist Lash Paint came out I can't decide between the two. I love the Smooth Operator Powder to set my concealer, I don't normally wear powder either but it works great for setting your concealer or even for "Baking". I already had the full size Lip Paint in TBT so this small one is going to my sister. I haven't tried the contour stick yet, but it is a full size and it retails at $24 so I figured the kit at $22 was well worth it. Thanks for your review, I always look forward to your posts on IG. :)

  8. TBT literally lasted on me for 8+ hours, did not get crusty on the inside of my mouth and dries super matte! It definitely is not transfer proof though. I find it so weird and interesting that products work so different for different people! As always I love your review and I will be purchasing this:)

  9. I tried one of those lip paints recently. I've never had anything go on so nasty and patchy.

  10. I'm so glad you are loving this kit G.! I love the look of the Tarte blush! Since not much else appeals to me I am off to check the Sephora site! Love love reading your reviews! They are like having a wonderful girly conversation!!!

    1. I completely agree with you about G's reviews. I love reading them. Thank you as always, G! Unfortunately the Sephora set is now out of stock, or I'd have been all over it for that blush!

  11. Your review sent me out to Ulta to buy this set. Thank you! I don't wear so much makeup these days (I am ancient) but I am looking forward to trying these products out. Love the blush.

  12. The secret to using Tarte's powders with only one or two holes in the sifter is to depress the sifter plastic gently and when you let go, a suitable amount of powder will be expelled onto the surface. It works pretty well in my experience.


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